India to rethink colonial-era law criminalising gay sex

by Antonio Miles January 9, 2018, 0:31
India to rethink colonial-era law criminalising gay sex

In a boost for the LGBT community, the Supreme Court (SC) has made a decision to revisit its earlier verdict on Section 377 which criminalises homosexuality and has referred a plea seeking its decriminalisation to a larger bench.

On Monday, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra chose to re-examine the constitutional validity of Section 377 and said the matter would be referred to a larger bench.

Chapter XVI, Section 377 of the IPC criminalises all those sexual activities that are "against the order of nature" including the homosexual sexual activities and consider them the "unnatural offences". "Because of that, we are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to take up these baseless challenges, which misrepresented the law's sole goal of ensuring that Mississippians don't live in fear of losing their careers or their businesses simply for affirming marriage as a husband-wife union".

"While we are disappointed in the Court's decision, the ACLU of MS will not stand quietly by while discrimination is sanctioned".

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A cold front will bring light snow showers by Monday evening through Tuesday morning, with not much accumulation expected for now. Environment Canada is advising people to check on older family, friends and neighbours, and to keep pets inside.

The Mississippi law allowing government workers and businesses to deny services to LGBT people by claiming religious objections will stand because the U.S. Supreme Court has decided against hearing an appeal.

The following year, in 2015, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the judgment on gay sex should be reconsidered by the Supreme Court.

The Mississippi law-the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act-is now in effect and protects three specific religious beliefs: marriage only between a man and a woman; sexual relations confined only to marriage, and sex as an innate, immutable characteristic assigned at birth. Several supreme court judges noted that sexual orientation fell under the privacy umbrella. He said, "As long as they don't celebrate it, don't flaunt it, don't create gay bars to select partners it's not a problem".

"In their privacy what they do, nobody can invade, but if you flaunt it (sexuality), it has to be punished and therefore there has to be Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code", Swamy argued.


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